Being data-driven is great. Customer Service Theatre is not.

Being data-driven is great. Customer Service Theatre is not.

Is it just me, or has every interaction with every customer service entity devolved into a funnel for customer service surveys?

In fact, on at least two customer service calls I’ve made in the last two weeks, I’ve been proffered a survey, before I even get to contact a rep.

Something’s wrong here.

In fact, I suggest that the overuse of customer service surveys is akin to the misuse of antibiotics in fighting infections – after awhile, a certain immunity builds up, and before you know, surveys are totally ineffective.

Don’t believe me?

Go to a dealership, and buy a car. Before you leave the lot, you are asked to rank the interaction for J.D Power and Associates. Anything less than a perfect ranking is a black eye for the dealership. So, you are instructed that by your salesperson, and asked to vote them a 10. Teaching to the test, as it were. I therefore hold the Power awards to be pretty useless, because they describe nothing about the excellence of the actual customer interaction, only in how well dealers – and anyone using the ranking – game the ranking process.

For an example in the sharing economy, look no further than Uber. I love Uber – and use it regularly. After each ride, you are asked to rank the experience. If drivers average experience rankings fall below a 4.0 out 5.0, they are sanctioned. Regulars know this, and so will rank even average rides as 4.0 so as not to screw the drivers. In other words, the ranking holds no substantive meaning in terms of describing – and improving – actual customer experience; it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

My local cable provider, Optimum, does an exceptional job at customer experience. In fact, their video explaining customer’s first bill is one of the best customer-facing tools I’ve seen in a long time. However, even their techs will push you to rank them highly, when the inevitable survey is sent.

I don’t blame those being ranked for gaming the system. It’s what I would do.

Rather, I would ask companies – are your customer data collection instruments actually improving customer experience, or are you simply providing a mechanism for collecting information for punitive action against those being measured?

If the answer is the latter, you’re doing it wrong.

I “get” that surveys and self-reporting are often the only way to get at some of this information.

But companies should not advertise how they are teasing these metrics internally, to prevent gaming of the system, and to obtain data that is actionable and unbiased, rather than having the customer pre-fed insincere answers that they should supply, regarding their interaction.

Otherwise, it’s only an exercise in self-delusion: customer service theatre.

Customer Service Theatre

The queen sacrifice in education fiction

The queen sacrifice in education fiction

Originally posted on Bryan Alexander:

Upsala Photo from IHE article. Not sure where this is.

Inside Higher Ed ran a column yesterday on a plan to overhaul a hypothetical small college.  In “The State of St. Bridget’s, July 2017” Aden Hayes describes this plan in detail, including a queen sacrifice move.

These are putatively “fundamental changes”, also known as “streamlining”.  They include a variety of practical steps to save and/or generate money: outsourcing some operations; selling a campus building; entering a purchasing co-op with other campuses; going after adult learners; going after online students; joining a library consortium.  I note the canny shift of overseas attention from Britain to China.

The queen sacrifice, cutting academics, is also here.

We have closed two academic programs that had been underenrolled for years — including the interdisciplinary program in Northeast Studies, which competed directly with a similar program at the nearby state university. Three departments had their…

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TMI

TMI

Originally posted on Taking Aim:

by Kim Stangle

There’s information and then there’s too much information, or TMI as it’s commonly referred.

In a news release announcing the appointment of its new chief marketing officer, HubSpot, an inbound marketing company, surely crossed into TMI territory with its diatribe disguised as news.  The release –which delves into reasons for the new appointment (ethical violations) – sounds more like a police report than a progressions release for an incoming executive.

Given their industry prowess, it’s hard to believe that HubSpot’s leadership would allow so many sordid details to be released.  Sure, it shows their board acted quickly to remove an employee they deemed potentially harmful to their brand, but did they consider how harmful it may be to air all the dirty laundry while they were at it?

News releases can still be a powerful tool to tell your company’s story, just be mindful of which…

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Commit Me

Commit Me

davidjhinson:

When you wholly commit – to a course of action, to a strategy, to a purpose – your decision making power, authority, and focus amplifies, by definition. That’s because all the mental energy and head space that you were formerly devoting to indecision, may now be brought to bear in actually doing.

Originally posted on 300 Words, 2 Minutes:

It’s mind-boggling, how much energy we spend on unanswered questions… pending decisions… the uncertain future.

It’s the metaphorical equivalent of sitting in your driveway with the engine on, your foot stomped on the gas pedal, all the way to the floor; furiously burning through everything in the tank, but going absolutely nowhere.

Truly, many problems are entirely outside our span of control, perhaps leading us to believe all we can do, is offer up some semblance of the serenity prayer, and simply hope for the best.

Look at the people you know, who are successful. Who achieve. Who get things done.

What trait makes them so effective at what they do, while others seem to sputter and fall?

They are able to commit. And, to reap the immediate benefits that commitment brings along with it.

Commitment

When you wholly commit  – to a course of action, to a strategy, to a purpose – your decision making power, authority, and focus amplifies, by definition. That’s…

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You Didn’t Respond… Are You Interested?

You Didn’t Respond… Are You Interested?

davidjhinson:

Exercise your agency. Take ownership of your vendor conversations. Don’t let misplaced obligation rob you of the drive and focus your employer demands and deserves.

Originally posted on 300 Words, 2 Minutes:

Puppet

One thing’s for certain, when you’re in charge of an IT department:

If you don’t control your vendor relations, they will control you.

We get dozens of cold calls and pitches, each and every week, from vendors of every stripe and walk of life.

Most are professional. Many are not.

The communiques that get most under my skin go something like this:

“You Didn’t Respond to my previous x emails… can you let me know if you have any interest in my product or service?”

Asked, and answered.

If we haven’t responded by now, we’re not gonna.

It’s not a question of being a jerk to vendors, or potential vendors. It’s a simple matter of survival.

My job is to further the institutional mission of my employer. Anything that detracts from that mission is non-essential and extraneous.

That especially includes answering unsolicited pitches and cold calls.

Not every pitch requires, or deserves, a…

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Being There

Being There

davidjhinson:

Being there is often the difference between totally “getting it”, or missing understanding altogether.

Originally posted on 300 Words, 2 Minutes:

One of the major failings of learning geography or history, at least as experienced in classrooms, is the inability to get a genuine sense of place as an actor in the story.

If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C., it’s hard to get a sense of the scale of the place, and why the city is situated where it is. Or, if you’ve never travelled through the swamps of South Carolina, it’s hard to imagine the difficulties the armies faced in simple logistics, moving through this harsh and challenging terrain, during the American Revolutionary War.

This week, we’ve been reminded of the vast distances between where we live, and the far-flung reaches of the outer edge of our solar system. Even traveling 30,000 miles per hour, it took the New Horizons spacecraft ten years to reach Pluto… and it has been only in the past week that Pluto has become for us, for the…

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#PrimeDayFail

#PrimeDayFail

Originally posted on Taking Aim:

by Ashley Tinstman

Everyone was talking about it.  There were ads on TV.  The buzz on social media was building.  Amazon Prime Day was coming, and it was going to be bigger than Black Friday—the sale to end all sales.  Consumers excitedly waited for July 15 to arrive, filling up their virtual shopping carts with all the items they expected to go on sale at midnight.  And then …

The deals never came.  Shoppers searched through Amazon’s website looking for the sales they had anticipated.  But as they were looking for tablets, phones and fashion accessories, what they found was much different.  Instead, they came across “exclusive” deals for duct tape, a VHS rewinder, a shoehorn and a bunion regulator.  (Seriously?  I don’t even know what a bunion regulator is.)

And as you can imagine, the social media world exploded.  People likened Prime Day to a giant…

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